Find it

Church of Blachernae

Ayvansaray, Istanbul

A few minutes’ walk inland from the Ayvansaray ferry station.

This modest church stands over a sacred spring and has been here since 451. Millions of people have visited over 1,400 years, and couples often come from Greece to get married. Legend has it that a secret tunnel leads from the well chamber about 8km to Ayasofya, which dates from about 400. The current church was built in 1862 and is beautifully proportioned. Every spring a service his held in thanks giving for the defeat of the Avars. The garden is kept in pristine order by its caretakers from ancient Antioch.

The relics were brought back from Jerusalem with the Empress Aelia Eudocia Augusta (c401–460),wife of Theodosius II and a prominent figure in early Byzantine Christianity. They included an icon of the Madonna of the Path Finder Pathfider by St Luke himself. The original is in Mount Athos. Four copies were made. The others went to Cyprus, Russia and Jerusalem.

Good places to stay
Buy the latest issue
Or, browse the back issues here
Issue 60, January 2020 Istanbul: The Ultimate Museum Guide
£ 12.00

If you like this, don't miss..
Cornucopia Digital Subscription

The Digital Edition

Cornucopia has joined forces with the digital publishing platform Exact Editions to offer individual and institutional subscribers unlimited access to a searchable archive of fascinating back issues and every newly published issue. This brand new resource is available cross-platform on web, iOS and Android and offers a comprehensive search function, allowing the title’s cultural content to be delved into at the touch of a button.

Digital Subscription: £18.99 / $18.99 (1 year)

Subscribe now

Print subscribers automatically receive FREE access to the digital archive. If you are already a subscriber, please register at with your subscriber account number or contact